Proper vitamin and mineral supplementation

Consumer, Healthcare professional, Industry member, Health supplements, Health supplements

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients needed by the human body for normal development and functioning. Each vitamin and mineral has specific functions in the body, for example, vitamin D aids in the maintenance of bone health, and zinc helps to support the immune system. For most individuals, a balanced diet would generally provide a good variety of vitamins and minerals.

Vitamin and mineral supplementation can be beneficial for certain individuals who are not getting sufficient amount of these nutrients. Supplementation helps to fill the gaps and ensures we get the necessary vitamins and minerals. It's especially important for certain life stages, helping to manage some health conditions, and when our bodies have increased nutrient demands.

While supplementation can be helpful, consumers should keep to the recommended dose on the product label and not consume more than that, unless advised by a healthcare professional for specific health or medical reasons. Excessive amounts of certain nutrients taken over an extended period can lead to toxicity and harm your health. Some examples include:

  • Diarrhoea, nausea or stomach cramps with high intake of vitamin C;
  • Tingling feeling in the hands and feet, burning or numbness with excessive vitamin B6;
  • Deposits of calcium in soft tissues and heart rhythm problems with excessive vitamin D

What consumers should do

  • In general, it is important to consume a balanced and wholesome diet consisting of food from the various food groups to meet your body’s basic nutrient requirements. Vitamin and mineral supplements should not be a substitute for a balanced diet.
  • Make informed choices about the supplements you consume. Get advice from a healthcare professional when unsure of the right products for a particular need.
  • Follow the recommended dose on the product label carefully.
  • Do not take multiple supplements containing the same vitamins and minerals as you will run the risk of overdosing on these nutrients.
  • Stop taking the supplements if you experience any adverse effect and seek advice from a healthcare professional.
  • Supplements cannot replace medical treatment. If you take them in place of prescribed medication, you run the risk of delaying or interrupting proper medical treatment, which may worsen your medical condition.

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